Selvaggia Velo, 35, is the organiser of the annual Bollywood film festival in Florence, Italy. Each year, she travels to Mumbai to check out the new films and to decide which will be shown at the Festival.
But this year, something special happened. Whilst in Bollywood, Selvaggia was invited to play a part in a movie! It’s the Warner Bros India comic blockbuster, Saas Bahu Aur Sensex, starring Farooq Sheikh and Tanushree Dutta. How did it happen? “The producers said they were looking for a European for a scene,” she explains. “Then they looked at me and said ‘Why not you?’ I was given a copy of the script in English and recited the lines along with the stars. I found myself in front of the stage instead of behind it for once and didn’t do too badly.” The scene Selvaggia did was with Sundanshu Pandey.
Selvaggia’s passion for her Festival, which this year will run from the 5th to 12th December, is born out of her love for India in general. “I love everything about the country,” she says. “Especially the food – Chicken Vindaloo drives me crazy. I love Indian jewellery, their style of dress, the simplicity and spontaneity of their interactions. I love the passion of the people. Altogether, the Indians strike me as serene. I’m happy to be in the middle of them, because they don’t discriminate against anyone. They are an intelligent people and gentleness is an innate quality that they have. Above all, they have a big heart.”